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2 overstayers fail in bid for review of their deportation

05 June 2019

Judge said applicants need to show enough evidence to support their claim against being sent back home

By The SUN

A Filipina former domestic helper and a tourist who stayed illegally in Hong Kong for 12 and five years, respectively, have failed to convince the High Court to allow a judicial review of the Immigration Director’s decision to send them back to the Philippines.

Both Milagros S. Fulgencio and Iris Joy G. Salas claimed they did not want to go back home because of threats on their lives. Fulgencio said she feared being harmed or killed by her abusive husband, while Salas says she is hiding from communist rebels whom she witnessed murdering a villager.
But in separate judgments issued on May 31, Judge Bruno Chan of the Court of First Instance refused to grant them leave for a judicial review of the Director’s rejection of their claims for non-refoulement, or against being sent back home.

The Torture Claims Board upheld the Director’s decision in both cases.

Judge Chan said he did not see any prospect of success in either application.

Fulgencio, 58, arrived in Hong Kong in January 1994 to work as a domestic helper and was terminated on Jul 20, 1995. She was allowed to remain for 14 days after this date but she remained and overstayed her visa.

On Feb 15, 2016, or nearly 21 years after going underground, Fulgencio surrendered to  Immigration and then filed for non-refoulement, claiming she would be harmed or killed by her abusive husband if she went back home.  She was released on recognizance while she pursued her case.

The Director of Immigration rejected Fulgencio’s claim on all applicable grounds, including risk of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; and risk of violating her right to life under Hong Kong’s Bill of Rights.
Fulgencio appealed to the Torture Claims Appeal Board but this was rejected on Feb 27, 2018.

In denying her permission to appeal her case to the High Court, Judge Chan noted that the Director found no substantial grounds to Fulgencio’s claim that she would be harmed or killed by her husband.

The judge cited the absence or low frequency of past ill-treatment of the applicant by her husband, and the lack of evidence to show that he had intended to harm her through the years.

Salas, 39, came to Hong Kong on Jun 14, 2011 as a tourist and overstayed until Sept. 10, 2015, when she surrendered to authorities.

She claims the New People’s Army will harm or kill her for having witnessed and a murder they committed in her village in Viga, Catanduanes.

On Feb 15, 2017, the Director rejected her claim on the same grounds cited in Fulgencio’s application. Salas appealed to the Board, but this was dismissed on Mar 13, 2018.

Judge Chan said Solis merely showed copies of the previous decisions and documents from her appeal before the Board, while in her written submission she simply repeated her claim that her problems back home had not yet been resolved.
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